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The Clown Punk

A deeper analysis to The Clown Punk by Simon Armitage.

Rebecca Job

on 18 November 2013

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Transcript of The Clown Punk

The Clown Punk

How do the details and language of the poem create the ideas and meanings that you've found?
"Driving home through the Shonky side of town,
Three times out of ten you'll see the town clown,"

How does the writer use structure and form to help?
The poem is written as a sonnet - 14 lines.
It is written with iambic pentameter - 10 syllables per line with a variation of stressed and unstressed.

My response?
It makes me think that we shouldn't take advantage of the fact that we are accepted by the community.The clown punk is not accepted and resorts to a mix of two groups to isolate themselves further as they are usually ignored anyway. However, this extreme look may be seen as a cry for attention.

It also gives a deeper evaluation past the first skin of judgement with a lot of depressing thoughts portrayed to get a more sympathetic approach.
So, what is a Punk?
They expressed themselves through hair and fashion.

Punk music usually involved a lot of shouting and represented disturbances.

The clown punk is based off of a real life event and character as Armitage witnessed a punk come up to his car as he waited for the traffic lights.
1. What the poem is about as a whole and what ideas are being expressed?
Its about a man driving a car with his kids in a disappointing town which contrasts with the idea of a happy clown with a punk that is seen around. This is an oxymoron. The poem takes this happy idea and turns it into a state of depression showing the opposites of appearance to personality.The use of his children and himself in the car is a good contrast of age showing the naivety of the first judgement.
The main idea is depression and how different views are interpreted from the outside compared to the inside.
'Driving' suggesting there is a physical and emotional journey involved in the poem.
The use of 'shonky' makes it sound rundown and sad.The word also seems slightly jokey relating to the clown side of things.
"Like a basket of washing that got up
And walked, towing a dog on a rope. But"
Suggests ragged clothes which could mean homelessness or being poor. The person being damp physically or emotionally meaning he could be cold and limp. It could also show that washing is heavy when wet so he lets things weigh him down. Makes the audience feel sympathetic.

'But' linking to the next stanza.
Stanza 2:

"Don't laugh: every pixel of that mans skin."
This shows the laughable appearance of the man, the 'clown'. The use of 'pixel' suggests messy work but there are small details to the reason why he looks like that.
Music: Emeli Sande - Clown
"Is shot through with indelible ink:
As he steps out at the traffic lights,"

The use of 'shot' is a much more violent word to use rather than 'drawn' showing some sort of hurtful past. 'Indelible ink' meaning tattoos like punks but also a permanent thing so it cant be removed easily.
As he 'Steps out at the traffic lights', we don't know if there is still ongoing traffic so it could suggest an idea of suicide.
"Think what he'll look like in thirty years' time - "
This may suggest more added tattoos - more issues that leave a permanent mark.
"The deflated face and shrunken scalp
Still daubed with the sad tattoos of high punk."

Relations to a dead body. Linking back to depression, the clown punk may show that his problems are slowly killing him.
'Sad tattoos' referring to the issues.
There is also alliteration.
"Your kids in the back seat who wince and scream
When he slathers his daft mush on the windscreen,"
The link with the children and the clown as they scream at what is supposedly a happy image for children which has turned bad. 'Slathers' adds to the depressing vocabulary. 'Daft mush' giving the outward judgement of what others think.
The 'scr' sound of 'scream' and 'screen', linking both lines together.
"Remember the clown punk with his dyed brain,

Then picture windscreen wipers, and let it rain."
Dye is not permanent so this could mean that the man is not always mentally stable.

'Then picture' giving interaction to the audience. 'Windscreen wipers' - more alliteration. The comma gives a pause for the audience to think. It also stops the flow as it is the only comma placed in the middle of a sentence.
'And let it rain.' Dye can wash away, making it seem like the man has lost mental stability and it's almost the readers fault as they washed away the 'mush' and let it rain. This could also be interpreted as judgement being the cause of depression.
Thank You!
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